Force and Fraud
A Tale of the Bush, Outback Australia in the mid-1800s.
When rich, domineering squatter Angus McAlpin is murdered, the obvious suspect is the penniless artist, Herbert Lindsey - who wants to marry his daughter, Flora.
McAlpin may have proclaimed that Flora would marry Herbert "only over his dead body" - and Herbert's bloodstained knife and handkerchief were found near the murder scene - but the artist denies any wrongdoing.
So begins a compelling murder mystery and trial, as the heiress seeks to prove her lover's innocence, and a country town takes sides.
Force may have killed Angus McAlpin, but fraud follows murder in a cunning plan to see Herbert Lindsey hanged - by any means necessary.
For someone else is determined to marry Flora, to obtain her property and her person; and he will stop at nothing.
Ellen Davitt's Force and Fraud is Australia's first mystery novel.
First published in Melbourne in 1865 - in the midst of the often-lawless goldrush era of Australia's colonial past - it is a genuinely original novel; well ahead of its time.
In fact Kerry Greenwood - the creator of Phryne Fisher - describes Ellen Davitt's novel as: "a stunning mystery with a court scene worthy of Perry Mason."
The Clan Destine Press eBook of Force and Fraud also contains a short story by Ellen Davitt, 'The Highlander's Revenge' is a crime story, rather than a mystery.
First published in the Australian Journal in August 1867, it was the best of Ellen Davitt's short stories and a significant early fictionalisation of European atrocities against Aborigines.
'The Highlander’s Revenge' comprises two stories: a memoir of genocide; and the reaction to it from an audience.